Chapter 4: Bluff
Noun: a high, steep bank (usually formed by river erosion)
Verb: to deceive an opponent by a bold bet on an inferior hand
Tony Stark awoke in an achy blur. He knew right away he was in the recovery room in the Tower. This wasn't the first time he woke, but it seemed the most solid. He had vague recollections of a nurse forcing applesauce and pills into his mouth while the Price is Right played on a TV in the background.
He wasn't sure if any of the team had come by to check on him after his surgery. He had a ghostly memory of seeing a woman standing by the floor-to-ceiling window in his room. He couldn't tell if it was Pepper or Natasha, or if it actually happened. Now that he was fully awake, he could check with security, but wasn't sure if he wanted to know.
He pressed the call button hooked to the side of his bed, and a doctor hurried in. Tony couldn't recall the man's name, but blamed it on the drugs. He was told how well the surgery went, and how poorly the anesthesia went, but it was only a little coma. He would be fine.
Tony nodded along as he was given a long list of things not to do over the next week: no solid food, no alcohol, no sex, no standing up unassisted, no sneaking off to the lab, and definitely no climbing into the Iron Man suit. The doctor left him alone with orders to rest.
Tony stared at the ceiling for a full thirty seconds before he had Friday put a call through to a P.A., with orders to bring him his tablet, and, after being sworn to secrecy, his reading glasses. He logged on and glared at the screen. Dozens of icons flashed red, begging for attention. His headache got a little worse at the thought of sorting through them.
"Hey, Friday?" he called.
"Yes, sir?" the A.I. replied.
"Do you think anyone will notice if I just slack off for the rest of the day?" he asked.
"Since that won't alter your usual schedule, I doubt it," the A.I. replied. "However, there are multiple high-priority calls and emails from General Ross and the Accords council."
"Can you summarize them?"
"Laura and Lila Barton have vanished, and Ross's agents cannot locate them. He wants Ms. Romanoff made available for questioning."
Tony looked through his tablet, and saw the protection detail he had put on the Bartons had lost them inside a medical building in Midtown. It was basically the only place they had gone without Natasha the entire week. The Stark Industries security team never saw Clint or any of the other rogue Avengers, and Tony couldn't find any electronic evidence of contact.
"Dial Natasha for me," he said.
She appeared on his tablet in a t-shirt and sweats. He saw weights and a punching bag in the background. Friday traced Natasha's phone to a public gym, rather than the Avengers' training room in the Tower. She looked as close as she ever did to relaxed, so he assumed she knew where Laura and the kid were, and wasn't worried.
She didn't leave with them, he thought. That's something, I guess.
"Hey, Scary Spice," he said. "You miss me?"
"I thought I was Ginger Spice."
"I've upgraded you," Tony said.
"But not to a pop band in this decade," she said.
"What are you talking about?" he asked. "They had a comeback tour!"
"I'm guessing you didn't call about bands?" Natasha prompted.
"Laura and Lila are in the wind," he said. "Do you know where they went?"
"General Ross already asked me that, rather rudely. Unfortunately, I was at a One Square on 10th at the time they disappeared, so I can't tell him what happened."
"Is that the coffee shop with the automatic cameras everywhere that post to the shop's web page so you don't have to take your own selfies?" Tony asked.
"Yes", she said. "Have you been?"
"No, but I saw some news vlog about it being a factory for narcissism," he said.
"Worried you're running out?" she asked.
"Never," Tony said, trying to keep his voice breezy. "I might go in there for an alibi."
"Their coffee is mediocre at best," she said, and raised a challenging eyebrow.
He stared back. He was completely convinced she had helped the Bartons escape from New York. He was tempted to loop his image to win the staring contest, but decided to be mature.
"Did I miss anything else during my day off?" he asked.
"Are you caught up on Vision's attempts to track down the kidnappers?"
"I got up to the dead end in a Maryland apartment," Tony said. "Did you have any luck in the real world?"
"I haven't been able to go looking," she said. "The Accords council says I took personal time walking Lila and Laura around, so they won't grant me any more leave."
"Did you try putting the search through as a mission? This Andrew Walmanich guy seems like big trouble."
"Not as big as a tribal land dispute in Malawi, apparently," she said. "I've got a flight out to my new assignment tonight."
"Why would they send you there?" he asked. "Not that you wouldn't be a good mediator or anything, but that-"
"Is not something in my official skill set?" she said. "I think the distance is more important than the job."
"Who did you piss off this time?" he asked.
"I was looking into an A.I.M. subsidiary called West Tech. I tried to get Vision's help, but he mentioned it to the Accords council, and suddenly…Malawi."
"What does West Tech have to do with anything?" he asked.
"There was a rumor going around that they might be linked to Walmanich's mercenaries," she said. "Strangely enough, the brother-in-law of Florian Hess, who is close friends with Philippe Stalder on the Accords council, recently invested in the company."
"You think the council would shut you down over that?" Tony asked.
"They're politicians, Tony. Maybe you could look into that, and your own company's stock. We can talk about it when I get back. I'll bring you some roasted grasshoppers."
Before he could object, she ended the call.
"Well, that was ominous," he muttered as he went looking for Stark Industries stock records. Even on his tablet, the files were deeply buried. He swept through engineering diagrams and R&D proposals before getting to the tedious money matters.
He wasn't sure what Natasha had meant. His stock value was still climbing, even as other tech companies dropped. Maybe she meant someone was trying to buy up enough to get a controlling interest, which shouldn't be possible since he kept fifty-one percent of the shares. He didn't find any one purchaser acting suspiciously, but he did find a half-dozen disturbingly timed sales. His six largest foreign investors had dumped their stock a few hours before Tony was taken into surgery.
He googled "Tony Stark" and "surgery" and found dozens of pages about the procedure he underwent two years ago, to have the shrapnel taken out of his chest. There were a few random tabloid articles about rumored cosmetic implants, and one he hadn't seen before about him getting a sex change. There was nothing about his aneurysm in the media.
So either it was a suspicious coincidence, or someone leaked the information about his medical problem to those stockholders, and they had bailed, thinking he'd die and take the stock value with him. His medical team could be to blame, but he doubted they were the ones Natasha was throwing shade on. He considered Detective Mahoney or the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, but neither of them screamed international business.
He had Friday dig into the meta-data on the stock dumpers, and the A.I. quickly linked four of them to Hwang Jae-joon, a member of the Accords council. The other two were friends of Hwang's friends.
"This…isn't good," Tony mumbled.
He had informed the council that he would be unavailable due to a medical issue, as the Accords required. The information was supposed to be confidential, to keep supervillains from making a move when the Avengers were a man down. Though the Accords didn't specifically say anything about insider trading, he was ninety percent sure this was not aboveboard.
That someone on the Accords council had tried to profit from his possible death was not entirely unexpected, since, as Natasha said, they were politicians. It still left him with a bad feeling. He tried to tell himself this was just the normal white-collar crime that people in power got away with.
Joke's on them; I pulled through.
He didn't have any solid proof that Hwang had blabbed, only a chain of connections that probably wouldn't hold up in court. He didn't have the authority to investigate the matter, since international financial crime was outside the Avengers' purview. He could hack the council's computer systems and then publish the information online, and burn the United Nations as Natasha had burned S.H.I.E.L.D. He would likely be caught, but he could do it.
What would the consequences be? Would the U.N. just put a few new politicians in to replace the ones Tony proved were corrupt? Would they dissolve the Accords entirely?
Tony frowned. Maybe that was what Natasha was trying to get him to do, discredit the council so Rogers and his merry band of outlaws could get back in the world leaders' good books.
See, we were right not to sign, Rogers' imaginary voice mocked.
"No you weren't," Tony said out loud.
He sent Friday to launch Trojans at the email accounts of West Tech employees, as well as at the personal staff of Hwang Jae-joon and Philippe Stalder, and his friend Florian Hess. Corporate espionage and spying on three members of the U.N. was enough to prove he wasn't ignoring Natasha's concerns, without playing into whatever pro-Rogers operations she was running.
To let her know he was onto her, he had Friday look for Natasha's hotel booking in Malawi, hoping to have the least-appetizing food on the local menu sent to her room as a welcome gift. Instead he found the council bureaucrats hadn't made hotel arrangements, and were issuing Natasha vouchers that he doubted anyone would accept. Her flight to Malawi also had a ridiculous number of layovers, and she was seated in coach, right next to the bathroom, on those planes that actually had bathrooms.
"Ok," he muttered. "Maybe they are out to get you."
He dug up a credit card number and bumped Natasha up to first class on all her flights, and found her a decent hotel and a car service to bring her there once she landed. To make sure she didn't think he was losing his edge, he also ordered strippers sent to her room, scheduling a new one to show up every hour after she arrived. He had gotten Rhodey court-martialed with a similar prank when he was stationed at Ramstein.
With that settled, he went back to flipping through his email, deleting many of Ross' high-priority messages without opening them. It took him all of a minute to get bored with that, too.
"What should I be doing now?" he asked Friday.
"Resting," the A.I. said.
"I have to do something," he said. "Idle hands are…something or other."
"The devil's workshop," the A.I. provided. "Alternately they are the devil's playthings or the devil's tools."
"Right," Tony said. "On it."
The Devil of Hell's Kitchen still had to be found and dealt with. Tony figured he could get the man a good shrink and some better armor, and get him signed onto the Accords the same way he had Spiderman. He doubted it would take more than a week to track the vigilante down if he threw enough resources at the project.
He brought up the research he and Friday had done before Tony went under the knife. He had copies of police reports and news articles, as well as a dozens of video uploads to social media sites. While the A.I. mapped out fan sightings and police reports, Tony looked over profiles of people who were known to have interacted with the vigilante. The people Daredevil had beaten up went in one (digital) pile, the people he rescued in another. He'd get P.I.'s to do follow-ups with any of them willing to talk, and keep tabs on the ones Daredevil might try to contact again. He created a third pile for people who fit in neither category, people who Daredevil had contacted for other reasons.
Brett Mahoney was at the top of that list, but after a little digging into the Fisk mess, Tony found a small, recently failed law firm had received information directly from the vigilante. The firm, Nelson and Murdock, were linked to Mahoney, and to Karen Page, a woman the Devil had rescued from an assassin, after she exposed part of Fisk's money laundering operation. Tony had already determined none of the four could be Daredevil, due to pigmentation, gender, a beer gut, and blindness, but he thought if he put them under surveillance, Mahoney in particular, they might lead him to the Devil's day job.
He knew it was possible that the Devil was homeless, or at least nomadic, but he had to eat, and he had to get that goofy armor from somewhere. The guy didn't steal from the people he beat up, as evidenced by large piles of cash found on or near his criminal victims. He supposed the vigilante could have been independently wealthy, but the hobo clothes he'd worn while rescuing Laura and Lila Barton left Tony unconvinced.
Tony thought Nelson and Murdock might have been supporting the Devil, since in general, lawyers have extra spending money. The firm also had a pro-vigilante bent, since they had defended the Punisher pro bono. That theory sank like a stone when he dug into the firm's financial records.
Most of their clients had been impoverished or nearly so. According to their tax records, they had accepted payment in baked goods and casseroles. They barely made enough to pay their rent, much less support a vigilante mascot. It was more their total lack of business sense, rather than the Punisher case that drove them under. He left the two lawyers on his surveillance list anyway. Maybe the Devil worked for baked goods, too.
Tony also ordered a few hundred extra cameras to put up around Hell's Kitchen, figuring he could get better results from facial recognition if he had better quality video. He might get lucky and spot the Devil sans mask as well. He sent the purchase and contract orders down to the head of Stark Industries security. He knew Pepper would get a copy as well. She hadn't complained about him having Laura and Lila Barton followed, but he held out hope she'd stop by to complain about this.
Matt Murdock sat with his head resting on the kitchen table. All around him lay papers from his P.O. Box. He had forwarded the law office's mail to it after he shut the doors for good, but that morning the post office called, complaining that it was full again. He thought with the office closed, and all the bills settled, the amount of mail would taper off. He had been wrong.
With Frank Castle in the wind, people apparently needed somewhere to send their hate mail. There could be fan mail as well. Matt didn't want to open it and find out who thought Frank's murder spree was the best thing ever. He was still twisting with guilt for not stopping Frank, and for thinking Frank was even a little bit right.
Matt could tell from the smell that some of the mail had been forwarded from Rikers Island, where the crime lord Matt had helped put away was growing his influence. He was sure Wilson Fisk was behind the letters being sent to him, instead of to the police.
Confronting Fisk at Rikers was the stupidest thing I have ever done, Matt thought.
He tried to push Fisk's threats out of his head. He tried to focus on sorting.
Anything really leaky, the post office just threw away, but sometimes envelopes with powdered substances still got put in the box. He thought it was mostly baking soda or talcum powder, intended to scare, but a few had a strange chemical tang to their scents. The smell also told him a few letters had been exposed to bodily substances, spit being the least offensive. He considered calling the police, but decided to just double-bag the dangerous or disgusting letters before throwing them out.
Matt sorted out the envelopes addressed solely to Franklin Nelson. The letters with inkjet labels instead of handwritten indents were hard to figure out, but if he left them in the sun for a few minutes, he could feel the difference between the light-absorbing black ink and the cooler reflective white paper around it. There was hate mail for Foggy too, since Matt left him with Frank's defense for the most part. The idea of people sending Foggy hate mail made Matt's chest hurt.
Once he had made three neat piles, he felt stuck. He was pretty sure Frank would not give a shit about his mail. He wondered if Foggy would be mad if he threw Frank's out. Matt didn't think he wanted it, but he might be upset if Matt threw it away without asking. He had to give Foggy his mail, anyway. He could ask. He could call to find out, but even thinking about Foggy's number sapped what little energy he had left.
As Daredevil, he'd spent most of the night searching for a teenage girl chained up in a van, after he heard a man bragging about paying a pimp to have sex with her. Matt had broken all the man's fingers, but the only information he got was the name of another man who knew the time and the street address where the van would arrive. Matt found the second man, but the van was long gone, driven back across the bridge into Jersey carrying another person Matt had failed to save.
It was another one of those days where he could do nothing right.
He let go of his control, letting the layers he had built up fly apart. He wasn't meditating. He was doing the opposite, wallowing in the painful flood of sound.
"-every time-it's your dog-they caaaaaall the Riiiiising Sun!- CHOCK! CHOCK! CHOCK!-didn't sign it- Lisa doesn't even like him- necesito mas!- woke up from his coma- at the office- dumbass can't find it - lilbaye hdha al'usbue- Twenty dollars? – Up in here, up in here!- Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroom! VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROOM! SKREEEEEECH! – extra onions! – no but they didn't get there- parkean oinex- no mom! It's his fault- three floors- not plugged in- Shangban chidao!- can solve your problems until you're honest with yourself -ek naee shart- Drip! Drop! Drip! Drop! Drip! Drop!- the president can't be that -the fat pours right off!- non e possible ottenere- the blind guy! He's just lying there-"
Matt glared at nothing. He couldn't even mope in peace. He concentrated again and built the layers back, narrowing his focus until he located the conversation. The voice was male, and not particularly loud, but Matt was called "blind guy" as often as his own name, so the phrase usually caught his attention. Eventually he put the world in enough order to pinpoint the voice, apparently having a discussion about him, over on the rooftop next door.
"-he could be dead or something," a man with a deviated septum was rambling. "There's no point in setting up the cameras if he's dead."
"He's not dead," a second, raspier voice said. "He's asleep. You can see he's breathing."
"I can't," Rambler said.
"Use the zoom," Raspy said.
Matt fought the urge to move. He was used to being stared at, but that was out in public spaces. He hadn't ever bothered with curtains on his windows because he was on the top floor, and Foggy had told him the glass was neither clean, nor particularly clear. Apparently it was clear enough for two strangers to see and film him through.
Matt heard tools clanking in a bag. The zip and swish as the men moved their arms probably meant they wore polyester windbreakers, maybe with a cable or phone company logo as cover. He tried to think of who would be watching him. Members of the Hand had tracked him home once, but they didn't seem the type to hire such…verbose help. The Hand would know better than to chat while spying on him. He could only think of one other person who would bother setting up surveillance: Wilson Fisk.
"I will dismantle the lives of the two amateurs that put me in here," Fisk had said.
This could be the first part of that plan. Matt didn't recognize Raspy or Rambler as criminals he'd beaten up, or even men on the periphery of Fisk's operations, but Fisk would need new employees after the FBI took down the majority of his organization.
The men's breathing was steady, but not unusually deep. Rambler had eaten something disagreeable and his stomach was roiling, almost masking the sound of his heart. Their belts strained against their bellies as they leaned over to sort out gear, and Raspy's knees creaked. They were not trained fighters. Matt shifted slightly, adjusting his arms to better support his head. He heard the faint uptick in the heartbeat of the one he'd dubbed Rambler.
"Ok. He's alive," Rambler said.
"Great. Give me the drill."
He listed as the two men installed something next to one of the satellite dishes on the other side of the alley. He couldn't hear anything from the device they installed, so he could not tell if it was turned on or not. He fixed the location in his mental map so he could avoid or destroy it.
"Test the signal," Raspy ordered.
Something clicked, followed by the muted tap of fingers on a touchscreen, rather than a keyboard.
"It's clear," Rambler said. His boots scraped in gravel and tools rattled again. "Camera on the front door is good, too."
Damn it, Matt thought. He would not have noticed the camera they had just installed if they hadn't been talking about it. Finding one pointing at the front of his building would be difficult, and avoiding detection while searching for a camera among other electronic devices would be almost impossible.
"Is there a back way out?" Raspy asked.
"Yeah, it's a service exit," Rambler said. "We can cover it from the end of this roof, or the roof across the street, but the super for that building might spot them. Also more stairs to get there."
"This roof, then," Raspy said.
"He's still just lying there," Rambler said. "Maybe he's in a coma."
"Would you stop?"
"It's just weird, watching a blind guy. It's like watching a kid or something. It's creepy."
"He doesn't care about the blind guy," Raspy growled. "This is just covering all the bases. If he's gonna show up anywhere, it'll be at the reporter's place."
That brought Matt up short. If they didn't care about him, could they be after Daredevil? His fingers brushed against the piles of hate mail. It was more likely they were looking for Frank Castle. They might be law enforcement, or just some P.I.s trying to make a name for themselves. That didn't rule out Fisk's involvement, since Matt doubted all of the crime lord's moles in law enforcement had been caught.
He had to figure out who they worked for before making his next move. But he wanted to gather information without confronting the two spies, or giving away his abilities to whomever was getting the camera feeds. Following them home would be hard, since he'd have to get past their surveillance to do it. Also, if he followed them as Daredevil, and was noticed, he'd basically be throwing evidence in their laps.
The two men were quieter as they installed the second camera to observe his apartment building's back door. He supposed there was another way to gather information. He could do something to provoke a reaction and hopefully keep his observers talking. He considered falling down in his kitchen while they watched, but that didn't seem dramatic enough. Something had to go so sideways that they had to call their boss.
Matt fought down embarrassment and preemptive guilt.
He got to his feet and shuffled across the room. He was glad he had bothered to put on a long-sleeved shirt, since he wasn't sure if the cameras could pick up his scars. He walked up the stairs to the roof, and opened the door. The quality of sounds changed slightly, without bricks, glass, and wood in the way. Gravel slipped and rolled under his bare feet. Bits of filth stuck to the soles.
"Oh, shit!" Rambler said.
"What?" Raspy asked.
A hand slapped a shoulder, and an arm cut through the air, pointing.
Matt heard both their hearts speed up as he walked across the roof to the rear of the building. The building behind his apartment was thirty feet away. The space between his roof and the building where the men stood was only twenty.
"He can't see us," Raspy whispered.
Matt was fairly certain even a normal person would have heard that comment, but he pretended he didn't. He got to the raised edge of the roof, and climbed onto it, standing with his toes over the empty space. Bits of gravel that had stuck to his feet fell into the gap and the sound of the tiny rocks hitting the ground reflected back and forth between the buildings. His observers' heartbeats picked up again, Rambler's more than Raspy's.
"Shit. Shit! He's gonna jump," Rambler whispered. "Call Sihn! No, 911!"
"The contract said 'don't interact'," Raspy said.
"Fuck that!" Rambler hissed, clearing his throat nervously. "Hey! Hey Mr. Mur- Mister…sir!?"
Matt turned in their direction, pretending to be startled. Raspy was dialing as his partner spoke. There were far too many digits for it to be 911.
"You're kind of close to the edge," Rambler called. "Do you need help?"
"No! No, thank you," Matt called back. "I'm fine."
"Get me Sihn," Raspy whispered into his phone. "No, I can't hold. It's the new contract. We're doing install, and the subject's about to off himself."
"Please get back a little…um…sir. It's …ah…dangerous," Rambler called.
Matt slowly turned, putting his back to the six-story drop. With slow, careful movements he got off the ledge and put his feet back in the gravel. Rambler's heart was still racing. He hoped the man hadn't lost a family member this way.
"Mister…you seem…not ok…you want me to…call someone for you?" Rambler asked.
"I'm fine," Matt called back. "Everything's fine."
He shuffled back to the roof entrance. Once he had the door closed, he sat on the stairs to the roof, listening to Raspy argue with his boss about their "suicidal" subject, while Rambler paced and muttered about calling social services. Pity wasn't something Matt wanted, but it was kind of a relief that there were still people out there who cared about strangers in any way at all.
"No," Raspy said into his phone as Matt focused on the slightly distorted reply.
"Is he still outside?"
"No. And we can't see him on the cameras, either."
"Do you think he'll attempt suicide again?"
"I don't know. I catch cheaters and people drinking on the job. I'm not a damn psychiatrist!"
"I'm having Lee put in a call, but I wouldn't bet on Stark getting back to us today. I don't want to call in the cops. If this guy is in a psych ward, the Daredevil probably won't pop in for a visit."
Not cops hunting the Punisher, Matt thought. Worse than that. Better than Fisk, but worse than that. Still all my fault, though.
Matt hadn't really expected his warning to Stark to be the end of it, but he thought it would, at worst, result in an extra warrant for the arrest of his alter ego. He didn't do anything the government gave a damn about, because he only helped people that no one else gave a damn about.
He did not in any way regret rescuing Laura and Lila Barton, but he really wished he hadn't gotten involved as Daredevil afterward. If he hadn't dragged those two mercenaries to the police station, he never would have crossed paths with an Avenger. He didn't know why he bothered to warn Stark when he heard him in the police station and realized he was ill. Stark was a billionaire. He probably had a checkup with a panel of experts every night before going to bed. He didn't need Matt's warning.
Matt put his head in his hands.
More than a year ago, Foggy had found Matt bleeding out on the floor of his apartment, in his old disguise, and found out he was Daredevil under the worst possible circumstances. Foggy had screamed at Matt about the consequences of Matt being revealed as Daredevil, the completely obvious, completely foreseeable consequences.
Every case he worked on would be questioned. He'd lose his license and he might get Foggy disbarred as well. Matt would go to prison, the same prison Fisk was held in. He'd get Foggy and Karen on the shit list of every criminal in Hell's Kitchen, and negative attention from the media as well. It wouldn't matter if Stark arrested him or just outed him. He would ruin the lives of the last two people on the planet that he loved.
Matt took a shaky breath, and then a deeper one. He wasn't caught yet.
Stark, or more likely Stark's hired help, had linked Matt to Daredevil, probably through police records. Matt and Foggy had represented a crooked cop who turned state's evidence against Fisk, after Daredevil saved said crooked cop from Fisk's other crooked cops. He and Foggy were only peripherally linked to Daredevil. Raspy had mentioned a reporter, which Matt would bet good money meant Karen Page, Matt's former secretary turned Bulletin journalist. She had been rescued by Daredevil several times as far as the police knew.
Matt forced his body to relax.
Stark probably only knew what the police knew. Matt just had to keep him from learning more. He just had to worry about the cameras.
Matt couldn't break the cameras as Daredevil. If Matt 'accidentally' found them and reported them, he didn't have the resources to prove they were Stark's. If he did find proof and tried to take Stark to court, he'd be facing an army of lawyers, and that was if the case even got to court before Matt died of old age. He couldn't think of a way to get rid of the cameras that wouldn't incriminate himself. He would just have to be where the cameras weren't.
He couldn't just keep his armor in a gym bag and change somewhere else in the city. If people were monitoring him, they could probably put together Matt Murdock leaving home with Daredevil showing up. His "I was home asleep" alibi would not work if video footage showed he wasn't home at all.
He would have to give up his home.
He couldn't just move either, since Stark could probably track him through the credit checks a new landlord would run. He would have to get off the grid. While searching the sewers, he had found a few places that would be liveable with a little work. He could shower at Fogwell's Gym. He had a couple grand in cash stuffed in his trunk along with his armor. He had meant to give it to his armorer, Melvin Potter, to pay for material for repairs. He could put that off for a while, and use the cash for food instead.
Matt paid his rent and utilities with automatic withdrawals from his savings account, and that would last for a few months. Stark might lose interest in that time, or get caught spying on someone else, and then Matt could come back. He would just have to rough it until then.
Matt's chest was getting tight again. He knew the feeling was stupid. His apartment was just a place. 'Home' was supposed to be about people, not bricks and boards or geography. He didn't have any people at the moment. Maybe that was why it was so hard to let the place go.
Author's note: I ended it on an angst, I know. Feel free to review!